Tax

Some of the most experienced tax litigators at the Bar are members of Devereux Chambers. We have a wealth of litigation experience across the fields of direct and indirect tax, contributions and duties, investigations, proceeds of crime and professional negligence. We have a detailed knowledge of, and feel for, the preparation and presentation of these difficult and sensitive cases and their evidential requirements. We are particularly familiar with advice and litigation about taxation of employees, service companies, agencies and employment businesses, entertainers and sports personalities, tax avoidance and evasion issues, capital allowances, statutory investigation powers and assessment procedures.

Our tax group includes three leading silks; Timothy Brennan QC, Jonathan Fisher QC (both previously standing Counsel to the Inland Revenue), Felicity Cullen QC and a number of experienced juniors. Our silks have particular expertise in handling individual and corporate domicile and residence litigation, both for and against taxpayers, as well as in contentious cases where HMRC pursue taxpayers in respect of alleged tax avoidance or evasion.

Timothy Brennan QC has appeared in scores of reported cases, 14 in the House of Lords  and Supreme Court, many at all the lower levels of appeal, as well as in Strasbourg. They cover a wide range of taxation topics, particularly in the fields of employment taxation, tax avoidance, corporate residence, statutory investigation powers and capital allowances. They include the Supreme Court appeal of Autoclenz Ltd v Belcher [2011] UKSC 41, [2011] ICR 1157  (employment status, 'sham' contracts); the ECHR case of  Yukos v Russia [2011] STC 1988 (tax fraud, Art 6, Art 1 Protocol 1), R (Prudential plc) v Special Commissioner [2010] EWCA Civ 1094, [2010] STC 2802 (statutory investigations; legal professional privilege) and HM Revenue & Customs v Smallwood [2010] EWCA Civ 778, [2010] STC 2045 (tax avoidance through double tax treaties).

Jonathan Fisher QC is a widely recognized tax practitioner. He was involved in R (on the application of Lunn) v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2011] EWHC 240 (Admin); [2011] S.T.C. 1028 in the Administrative Court; the case successfully challenged HMRC’s failure to act fairly and to give reasons when terminating the status of authorised tax agent.  He is a Chartered Tax Adviser, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, an accredited Trusts and Estates Practitioner and an Editorial Board Member of Simon’s Taxes. He is particularly known for his work in contentious tax cases (civil and criminal), investigations and disclosure cases where avoidance or evasion issues are involved.

Felicity Cullen QC specialises in the full range of revenue/tax law though she is primarily involved in commercial tax, both in an advisory and litigation context. She has been involved in many large city transactions and is routinely involved in private company and business transactions, such as the recent substantial investment into Greenwich Peninsula by Hong Kong investors. The disputes side of her practice entails correspondence, settlement negotiations, and other forms of dispute resolution such as mediation as well as appearances in tribunals and courts. She recently settled a permanent establishment dispute against HMRC involving profits of circa £150 million. She is a CEDR Accredited Mediator and has been in practice since the mid 1980s, having started life at the tax bar at Gray’s Inn Tax Chambers.

Barrie Akin was called to the Bar in 1976 and then trained as a chartered accountant, specialising in taxation. He was a tax partner in the London office of Ernst & Young for ten years before starting practice at the tax bar. His practice takes him into all areas of revenue law and he has wide experience in all its fields, but has a particular interest in business, financial and cross-border tax issues and the interaction of taxation and accountancy principles. On the advisory side, he assists both corporate and personal clients on a wide range of issues. He has recently advised a liquidator on complex corporation tax issues arising out of post-cessation receipts and has advised executors on the optimum strategy for securing Inheritance Tax reliefs for a complex high value estate with unusual features. The disputes side of his practice involves him in all aspects of tax litigation, including advising on strategy and tactics, the drafting of correspondence and pleadings, settlement negotiations and appearing before the Tax Tribunals and the courts.

Jolyon Maugham is a leading Tax junior, recommended in both the Legal 500 and Chambers UK directories for his work in this area. He has a specialist litigation practice focused on the fields of direct and indirect tax, with particular expertise in 'scheme' transactions, intangible property, legitimate expectation, abuse of rights, film financing and employment taxation. Recent cases include Eclipse Film Partners No 35 LLP [2012] UKFTT 270 (TC), Vaccine Research Limited Partnership [2013] UKFTT 73 (TC) and Patrick Degorce [2013] UKFTT 178 (TC) all acting on behalf of the claimant in the First Tier Tax Tribunal and R (oao Cameron) v HMRC [2012] EWHC 1174 (Admin) on behalf of the claimant in the Administrative Court. Jolyon also appeared unled in the most important avoidance case of 2012, the £300m Icebreaker litigation (decision awaited). Jolyon holds the distinction of being the only specialist tax counsel appointed by the Attorney-General to the "A" Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown.

Akash Nawbatt is on the Attorney General’s “A” Panel of Counsel and has represented Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and taxpayers in tax disputes before the Tax Tribunals, the High Court, Court of Appeal, House of Lords and the Supreme Court. Akash has particular expertise in the taxation of employment income; individual, corporate and treaty residence and domicile; judicial review; and assessments, discoveries and penalties. Recent cases include: R (Gaines-Cooper) v HMRC (2011, Supreme Court – Residence Judicial Review); Kuehne & Nagel Drinks Logistics v HMRC (2012, Court of Appeal – Taxation of Employment Income); R (Daniel) v HMRC (2012, Court of Appeal – Residence Judicial Review); HMRC v Charlton (2012, Upper Tribunal – Validity of Discovery Assessments); McLaren Racing Ltd v HMRC (2013, Upper Tribunal – Tax Treatment of a Regulatory Penalty) and Mertrux v HMRC (2013, Court of Appeal – taxation of goodwill).

We are proud of our excellent reputation for client-focused service. Our approach to business has been praised by many of our clients who have often commented on our effectiveness and approachability.